Sunday, March 29, 2020

Some consider ways to slowly return Illinois’ economy during COVID crisis – Center Square

The Trump administration extended its social distancing guidelines through April 30 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to slow the spread. But some Illinois leaders said Sunday that some things could be implemented to slowly bring the shutdown economy back to life, like distancing regulations for small businesses.

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New Census Numbers: Every Illinois metro area loses population for second year in a row – Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois suffered its sixth consecutive year of population decline in 2019, but new U.S. Census Bureau data shows that for the second year in a row those declines happened in every metropolitan area of the state.

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Federal Reserve Considering Additional Support for State, Local Government Finance – Wall Street Journal

Federal Reserve officials are reviewing new ways to support financing for state and local governments, many of which are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and will face huge borrowing needs as revenues plunge, according to people familiar with the matter.

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Heroes combat COVID – Eric Allie Cartoon

Illinois' heroes combat COVID-19

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Legalizing pot deliveries gains momentum during coronavirus crisis – Chicago Sun-Times

Rep. Sonya Harper introduced legislation last month that would allow cannabis dispensaries to deliver weed. Now, she’s calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to take immediate action.

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Illinois Senator Duckworth calls $2.2 trillion bill a ‘down payment,’ Trump ‘incompetent’ – Journal-Register

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State makes changes to improve unemployment claim process amid surge in claims – Center Square

The Illinois Department of Employment Security received close to 115,000 claims for the week of March 21 alone, an increase of nearly 1,400 percent compared to the same time period in 2019. The call center is fielding hundreds of calls per minute, state officials said.

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Coronavirus outbreak grinds strip club business to halt – NWI.com

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker asks federal government to expand, expedite Medicaid coverage – The Telegraph (Alton)

The state has submitted two federal waivers requesting increased flexibilities around Medicaid coverage. If approved, the flexibilities will ensure that individuals, whether uninsured or insured, can receive Medicaid coverage for treatment if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

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Editorial: Does the coronavirus economic stimulus do enough for the 99%? – Chicago Sun-Times

"Our early read is that this stimulus could have been crafted to do more for average Americans and small businesses rocked by layoffs, shutdowns and lost commerce. That said, there are a lot of elements we won’t be able to judge until the money starts flowing."

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Confirmed Coronavirus cases is an almost meaningless metric – Bloomberg

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No masking pain coronavirus will inflict on state finances – but no one knows ‘exactly how bad it will be’ – Chicago Sun-Times

An over two-year budget impasse ruined much of the state’s finances. The state has $134 billion in unfunded pensions liabilities, a $7.7 billion bill backlog and poor bond ratings from Wall Street’s leading credit rating agencies. State Comptroller Susana Mendoza said Illinois’ rainy day fund has been drained to only $60,000 — not enough reserves in the safety net to run state government for 30 seconds.

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Coronavirus In Illinois: Grocery Stores To Step Up Social Distancing Efforts – CBS Chicago

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Facing growing coronavirus threat, Illinois prison officials release moms jailed with their babies: ‘Oh my goodness, there was no words’ – Chicago Tribune

At least six women were released over the past week from the Decatur Correctional Center as the coronavirus pandemic raised fears the disease will take hold in the prison system. As of Friday, seven inmates and six staff members of the state’s prison system had tested positive for the virus.

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Illinois Farm Bureau works to help farmers amid pandemic – Center Square

“Farmers were already dealing with some really stressful times entering really our seventh year of depressed farm economy,” an Illinois Farm Bureau spokesperson said.

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County fairs hurt financially by COVID-19 shutdowns – Capitol News

Under statute, the state is responsible for paying county fairs 66.67 percent of what organizers spent on agricultural premiums. That includes activities related to horticulture, poultry, livestock, horse races and rodeos. A spokesman for the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs said fair organizers “have never received that” — in recent years, they were reimbursed 25 percent of eligible costs.

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Illinois residents, governments to get part of $2 trillion federal coronavirus package – Center Square

Inside the $2 trillion bill, the largest relief measure ever passed, Illinois state and local governments are set to get $4.9 billion. That’s part of $150 billion all states and local governments will share in.

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Prosperity study shows mixed bag for Illinois – Center Square

“One of its biggest strengths [of Illinois] is the market access and infrastructure where it ranks 10th overall. There we see it's got a good transport system. It also has reasonably strong and good access to reliable electricity. And we've also seen an improvement in its internet access and speed, which is important for business.”

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Column: No, this is not the time for fiscal restraint – Chicago Tribune

"For more years than I care to remember, under presidents of both parties... I have stressed the importance of living within our means, paying the full cost of what we demand of our government and not piling needless obligations on future generations. There are many good moments for fiscal restraint. This is not one of them."

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Lightfoot: Stay-at-home order likely to last ‘deep into April’ – Chicago Sun-Times

The governor’s order is scheduled to expire April 7. So does his statewide order that closed all public and private schools. Lightfoot has ordered Chicago Public Schools closed through April 20.

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Illinois’ pandemic plan anticipated shortages and surges, anxiety and death. Now the public is seeing how the state meets the test – Chicago Tribune

The policies, vocabulary and impact of the pandemic may seem fresh to most Illinoisans, but those terms have long been part of a 15-year-old, 120-page document that’s the state’s guiding plan for responding to a pandemic.

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Pritzker announces new efforts to help those in need as COVID-19 cases continue to rise – Center Square

The governor announced increases in SNAP benefits, funding to support the homeless and a stipend to child care providers who have provided child care to essential workers during the pandemic.

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Exelon, ComEd donate $2M to Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund – WGNTV (Chicago)

The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund is a joint effort between the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, in collaboration with the Office of the Governor.

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Gov. Pritzker: Those Who Don’t Heed Virus Warnings ‘Spitting In The Face’ Of Healthcare Workers – NPR (Illinois)

Meanwhile, Illinois saw the highest growth in reported cases in a single day since COVID-19 patients in the state have been tracked.

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Illinois tax filing delay will add to its cash flow strains – The Bond Buyer

Illinois’ liquidity is being tested as the state grapples with revenue losses, emergency spending and delayed income tax payments that have muddled the budget picture and prompted worries of longer term fiscal strains due to COVID-19.

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Coronavirus pandemic delays REAL ID deadline – Illinois Policy Institute

Before they were ordered closed, Illinois Secretary of State facilities had reported large crowds and long wait times in recent months as residents tried to upgrade their ID before the Oct. 1 deadline.

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Editorial: Coronavirus taxing patience – Champaign News-Gazette

"That’s why moving the filing deadline to July 15 doesn’t elicit much excitement. If it helps some people, fine. But it’s not a big deal by any stretch. Unless, of course, you’re the revenue-hungry governor of Illinois."

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Column: ‘Grim’ barely describes state’s financial fallout from coronavirus pandemic – Champaign News-Gazette

"If that’s not bad enough, Wirepoints financial analyst Mark Glennon said there are scenarios under which economic circumstances for everyone — individuals, business and government at all levels — could get even worse."

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Review: Virus could close Illinois community health centers – AP (Illinois)

The internal financial review completed Wednesday for the Illinois Primary Health Care Association found that, without help, the state’s federally established community health centers - which largely serve low-income and minority communities - face losses of $181 million and 4,350 layoffs during the next three months.

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Illinois Prisons Refusing New Prisoners As COVID-19 Spreads – WBEZ (Chicago)

An executive order halting new prison admissions was issued Thursday by Gov. JB Pritzker as a total of 12 corrections staff and prisoners have tested positive for COVID19. The order will likely have the biggest impact on county jails, under the authority of sheriffs, where people are typically incarcerated prior to being admitted to the state prison system.

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The ‘Devastating Impacts’ of COVID-19 on Illinois Finances – WTTW (Chicago)

Pritzker did not directly answer a reporters’ question Thursday about how much the state has spent so far to battle the coronavirus.

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State upgrades unemployment website to speed process – State Journal-Register (Springfield)

The department also began tracking COVID019 related claims and is asking people to follow an alphabetized schedule when filing online and on the phone.

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Attorney General taking price gouging action, warns of COVID-19 scams – Capitol News

“At a time when my office could be assisting people who are concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact their mortgage, rent and student loan debt payments, my office is devoting significant resources to investigating individuals who are attempting to benefit from the public health crisis by putting profits before people,” Raoul said.

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Pritzker vows to fix state’s unemployment website – Center Square

Many people who have tried to file for unemployment reported difficulties with the state’s unemployment website. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said state employees were working on it.

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Fitch says Illinois was vulnerable before COVID crisis, federal bailout won’t negate lost economic activity – Center Square

The analysts said they are watching what state and local governments do to manage the crisis. They said those that have reserves and strong liquidity will likely weather the storm while states with heavy debt liabilities will struggle.

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Group of Illinois House Republicans push for reforms to ‘kick start’ state’s economy amid COVID-19 crisis – Center Square

Among other changes, the Republicans want to return the light trailer license fee back to $18 from before it was increased to $118, and a sales tax holiday for the entire duration of any work restrictions under the stay-at-home order.

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Coronavirus Hospitalization Numbers Are Spotty. – ProPublica

Illinois is among the states not disclosing that key data.

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Durbin, Duckworth release Illinois particulars on Senate-passed coronavirus relief bill; state and local governments to split nearly $5 billion – Chicago Tribune

The measure, which awaits final House action, would give Illinois state government $2.7 billion, while providing $2.2 billion to local governments, according to estimates from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announces relief package extending tax deadline for businesses, waiving other fines and fees – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Chief Financial Officer Ammar Rizki said the measures will temporarily free up at least $30 million in cash flow for businesses during the public health crisis.

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Illinois launches COVID-19 relief fund for non-profits, nearly $23 million raised – WREX (Rockford)

the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund is launching with nearly $23 million in initial donations. The United Way of Illinois and Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations are operating the new fund, separately and independently from the state.

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Illinois unemployment claims skyrocket amid COVID-19 shutdowns – Center Square

Initial unemployment claims in Illinois for the week ending March 21 were 133,763, up 122,893 from the 10,870 claims filed the previous week, according to data released Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor and later updated by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

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President Donald Trump Approves Disaster Declaration for Illinois Amid Coronavirus Crisis – NBC Chicago

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Pritzker Announces $90 Million in COVID-19 Relief For Small Businesses – NPR Illinois

Businesses will be able to apply for a share of $60 million in 5 year low-interest loans. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Illinois’ official coronavirus response website are hosting the applications, and the program will be administered by nonprofit lender Accion.

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State commission says ‘COVID-19 Recession’ could be $8 billion hit – Center Square

The new report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability included a projection of state revenues and expenditures for the next three years under different scenarios. The report also highlighted threats to the state’s budget forecast, including it’s outstanding bill backlog of more than $8 billion,  unfunded pension liabilities of more than $137 billion, and the uncertainty around what it called the “COVID-19 Recession.”

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Illinois – What numbers can the public trust? – Edgar Country Watchdogs

According to the Governor, there are 12,588 hospital beds available in Illinois with 51.6% occupied. Considering the Governor does not provide any detail as to what type of hospital beds he is pointing to, we will default to the data provided from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Board. According to HFSB reports, as of 2018, there are 36,174 Hospital beds in Illinois. That is over three times what the Governor reported. Even more interesting, the official report from the HFSB reflects more beds available than would be needed in the Governor’s worst-case scenario, 28,222.

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COVID-19 outbreak sparks flood of executive orders – Capitol News

The average from 1999 through 2019 was 11.2 executive orders per year. But in just the first three months of this year, Pritzker has already issued 12 executive orders, including 10 since he declared a public health disaster March 9. And some of the orders Pritzker has issued deal with multiple, unrelated issues.

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State Aid Provisions of the Federal Coronavirus Response Bill – Tax Foundation

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$14 Million In State Grants To Be Split Among Bars, Restaurants And Hotels Hit Hard By Coronavirus – Block Club Chicago

Pritzker also announced two other programs to help small businesses, but those programs exclude Chicago businesses. However, the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund is available for city businesses.

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A rookie politician, Gov. J.B. Pritzker confronts the coronavirus pandemic: ‘A switch gets flipped when crises develop’ – Chicago Tribune

Pritzker said in an interview Tuesday with the Chicago Tribune that he isn’t spending much time looking backward at what he might have done differently but rather “course-correcting as we go.”

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What powers does Pritzker have in an emergency? And what has he ordered so far? – Illinois Policy Institute

While the federal government is a government of enumerated powers – it can only exercise the powers specifically granted to it by the U.S. Constitution – state governments retain what is known as “police powers” to protect the welfare, safety and health of their residents, in keeping with the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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Senate unanimously passes $2.2 trillion economic rescue package in response to coronavirus pandemic – ABC7 (Chicago)

The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. The unanimous vote Wednesday came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations.
 

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Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says coronavirus stimulus package ‘puts our hospitals and health care professionals first’ – Chicago Tribune

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Stimulus bill: Who gets what from $2 trillion coronavirus relief package – ABC7 (Chicago)

The itemized explanation includes families, small businesses, larger industries and state and local governments.

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Illinois moves Tax Day to July 15 in response to coronavirus spread – Illinois Policy Institute

The change comes five days after the same move was made by the federal government, which also pushed the deadline to July 15. Pritzker said delaying the filing deadline will help soften the immediate economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Senate, House cancel next week’s session once again – Capitol News

A letter to House members from Jessica Basham, chief of staff to House Speaker Michael Madigan said members “should be prepared to return to Springfield to address urgent matters, including during the weeks of April 5 and April 12 (the legislative spring break).”

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State officials warn of possible looming recession – Capitol News

Last year, Moody’s Investors Services issued a report identifying Illinois and New Jersey as the two states that would be least able to weather a recession. In the case of Illinois, that was based the state’s lack of cash reserves and its high fixed costs for debt repayment, its backlog of unpaid bills and pension obligations.

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More Illinois towns considering beer delivery, pick-up from restaurants during pandemic – Center Square

The decision aims to offset the hit from the state’s prohibition of dine-in service, enacted earlier this month.

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This pre-existing condition makes Illinois finances especially vulnerable to COVID – Crain’s

State employee pension funds entered the coronavirus crisis with $137 billion less than they needed to cover future obligations to retirees, an aggregate shortfall of about 60 percent. With the stock market down 30 percent in a month, and no bottom in sight, that gap is growing rapidly as the decline takes its toll on pension plan investments.

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Pritzker Acknowledges Budget Turmoil Due To Coronavirus – NPR Illinois

On Tuesday, Pritzker mentioned his administration will work with the General Assembly to craft a new state budget, which would take effect once Illinois' new fiscal year begins July 1.

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COVID-19 Pumps Brakes On Real Estate Industry – NPR Illinois

The broker said he remains optimistic for what’s to come, though: if the housing market made it through the 2008 recession, then it will make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Illinois reports confirmed COVID-19 cases in two jails – WREX (Rockford)

The Illinois Department of Health reports two correctional officers and one inmate at Stateville Correctional Center, in Crest Hill, have tested positive for the virus. Also,  a contractual worker at Sheridan Correctional Center in Sheridan, has tested positive.

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330 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Illinois, 3 additional deaths – WGNTV (Chicago)

The Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday that a total of 1,865 cases have been reported across the state. The three latest deaths include a Kane County man in his 90s, a Cook County man in his 60s, and a Will County woman in her 50s.

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Tracking State Legislative Responses to COVID-19 – Tax Foundation

While direct public health interventions and assistance to those in economic distress are the most urgent needs, tax policy will play an important role in this process, both in states’ efforts to provide relief and, ultimately, to cover the costs of these outlays.

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$2 trillion emergency relief includes muni market provisions – The Bond Buyer

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Top individual income tax rate in Illinois is 4.95% in 2020 – Center Square

Top state income tax rates range from a high of 13.3 percent in California to 1 percent in Tennessee, according to the Tax Foundation study.

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Pritzker Is Having His Moment – Chicago Magazine

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In Illinois, The Newly Unemployed Face An Extra Hurdle: ‘It Was Just A Busy Tone — Beep, Beep, Beep’ – WBEZ

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Sledghammers or Scalpels – Points & Figures

"Policy-wise we seem to be using sledgehammers when we should be thinking about using scalpels."

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area – Chicago Tribune

The coronavirus outbreak could have caused Illinois hospitals to run out of beds in about a week if the current stay-at-home order were not in place, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday at his daily news briefing.

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U of I seeks U.S. coronavirus aid – Crain’s

University of Illinois System leaders have added their voices to the many sectors seeking relief from Congress as it considers extensive emergency coronavirus aid. In a letter to the Illinois congressional delegation yesterday, System President Tim Killeen and chancellors at the system’s universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield said billions of dollars are “urgently needed” for U.S. higher education because of unexpected expenses nationwide.

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Trump, Congress Agree on $2 Trillion Virus Rescue Bill – NBC5 (Chicago)

The urgently needed pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history and is intended as a weeks- or months-long patch for an economy spiraling into recession and a nation facing a potentially ghastly toll.

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Commentary: A region-specific strategy could slow the coronavirus and protect the U.S. economy – Chicago Tribune

"Unfortunately, an unintended, although perhaps expected, consequence of social isolation has been virtual paralysis of the American economy...Comparisons to the Great Depression are no longer unthinkable."

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Post-COVID, here’s one thing we can’t afford: Pritzker’s graduated tax – Opinion – Crain’s

"To make it out of this crisis, all Illinoisans will make tremendous sacrifices; all we’re asking is for Pritzker and lawmakers not to raise our taxes while we try to save and rebuild our lives."

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Editorial: Amid coronavirus, another worry looming for Illinois – Chicago Sun-Times

"We know the governor and lawmakers have a lot on their plate right now. But the CEJA bill already was unnecessarily delayed when lawmakers thought they had plenty of time to deal with it. They don’t anymore. The legislative session is set to end May 31."

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Illinois preparing for increased hospital demand due to COVID-19 – Capitol News

In the same press conference, Pritzker acknowledged the state’s economy is likely to suffer due to the social restrictions in place statewide, and that state revenues are likely to suffer as well, which could lead to budget cuts.

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Pritzker ‘concerned’ he may need to extend stay-at-home order beyond April 7 – Center Square

“We haven’t seen enough data yet to really know when we can bring the restriction off but again watching every day and looking at the data every day,” Pritzker said.

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: 4 more deaths and 250 new cases reported, bringing state total to 16 deaths and 1,535 cases – Chicago Tribune

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at his daily news briefing that the state’s hospitals would have run out of beds a week from now if Illinois’ stay-at-home order were not in place.

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IDFPR makes it easier for retired doctors, nurses to help during COVID-19 pandemic – Center Square

The department will allow out-of-state physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and respiratory care therapists; also, variance will allow Illinois physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and respiratory care therapists with inactive, non-renewed, or expired licenses to restore their licenses temporarily.

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Illinois governor justifies stay-at-home order by showing estimated need for hospital beds, ventilators to exceed capacity – Center Square

An infographic used during Tuesday’s briefing from the Illinois Department of Public Health showed that of the 26,025 hospital beds available in Illinois, 12,588 – or 51.6 percent – were occupied. Health officials estimate by March 30 the need for beds will increase by 2,511, and by 28,222 by April 6, exceeding the state’s capacity.

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Illinois Republicans call for an end to ‘finger-pointing and name calling’ in coronavirus crisis – Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Republican Chairman Sean Morrison lashed out Monday at Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, accusing them of putting politics before constituents with their “volley of combative and sarcastic tweets” aimed at President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

“Finger-pointing and name calling by Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot solves absolutely nothing except for trying to score some cheap political points,” Morrison said in a statement. “We need steady, effective and focused leadership and they’re not providing it.”

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Fed to buy unlimited government debt, lend to businesses – FOX Illinois

The Fed's announcement Monday removes any dollar limits from its plans to support the flow of credit through an economy that has been ravaged by the viral outbreak. The central bank's all-out effort has now gone beyond even the extraordinary drive it made to rescue the economy from the 2008 financial crisis.

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Trump pushes back REAL ID application due to COVID-19 – WREX (Rockford)

Travelers would have been required to present REAL ID cards to board U.S. flights starting on Oct. 1. The president says a new deadline will be announced soon.

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Illinois manufacturers are switching gears to make equipment to fight COVID-19. Here’s what they’re doing – Chicago Tribune

 “It’s very much a war effort, where it’s all hands on deck,” said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. In some cases, manufacturers have seen orders slow amid the outbreak, and making equipment to fight the spread of COVID-19 is a way to keep them going.

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Travel industry braces for loss of $355 billion, 4.6 million jobs – Center Square

A spokesperson with Peoria International Airport, said some planes are leaving the terminal with fewer than 10 passengers.

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Cities and States Desperate for Cash Raise Alarm for Federal Help – Bloomberg

Transit agencies, including Chicago's, are facing multi-billion-dollar shortfalls and potentially credit rating downgrades from Moody’s Investors Service as the virus has decimated ridership. And the governors of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Illinois have called for hundreds of billion of dollars to help cover their costs to combat the virus, demanding that the federal government step in to help.

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Unemployment soars in Illinois; State scrambles to assist – WGNTV (Chicago)

Over the weekend, demand reached critical mass and the systems supporting the online applications wasn’t robust enough to take all the applications that were coming in. The state pivoted and put the online unemployment website onto a bigger server to serve the massive demand.

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Statewide doctors group concerned about workload, but suburban hospitals say staffing levels are strong – Daily Herald

Locally, hospital officials say staffing and equipment levels are strong for now, and the emphasis is on keeping medical staffers healthy and rested.

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Feds vow to send Illinois ventilators, masks after Pritzker and Trump talk things through – Chicago Sun-Times

For well over a week, the governor has been lobbing complaints at the president via Twitter and on telelvision news programs. Now, Pritzker’s office said Illinois is expected to get 300 ventilators and 250,000 N95 masks.

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Tracking Illinois coronavirus: 12 deaths, 1,285 cases, 9,868 tests and maps of Illinois, U.S. and world – Chicago Tribune

As the coronavirus spreads and local, state and national governments work to contain the outbreak, the Tribune is tracking Illinois cases by date, county, age, etc.

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Facing ‘unprecedented’ number of claims, Illinois urges laid off workers to apply for benefits online – Chicago Tribune

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Don’t take Trump’s bait, governor – Greg Hinz – Crain’s

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Illinois Rainy Day Fund – Eric Allie cartoon

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Do Illinois hospitals have enough beds? Yes for now, but coronavirus threat has officials eyeing more space – Chicago Tribune

At this point, Illinois hospitals still have more than enough beds and ventilators for people who need them. But with eyes toward Italy and New York, local health officials took additional actions.

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Editorial: Illinois should move state tax filing deadline to July 15 so it matches the feds’ – Chicago Sun-Times

At a time when almost everything in our daily lives has become unexpectedly complicated, Illinois should not keep its income tax deadline set at April 15 now that the federal government has moved back its deadline by 90 days.

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In unprecedented move for local town, Elk Grove issues $2.8 million coronavirus relief package – Daily Herald

The village is paying for the relief package -- equating to some $2.3 million for residents and $500,000 for businesses -- with its surplus from last year's budget.

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Editorial: Suspect pandemic price-gouging? Call the attorney general – Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said Monday that his office has received more than 525 complaints of price-gouging during this pandemic, up from just 100 complaints received last week.

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No firm plans yet for restarting legislative session – Capitol News

"For now, we continue to weigh legislative and procedural priorities so that when we return to session we can be effective and efficient while also protecting public health and safety."

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Community health centers ask state for emergency funding – Capitol News

According to a report from Capital Link, community health centers in Illinois are projected to lose almost $140 million in revenue over the next three months, or 70 percent of the business typically generated.

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Illinois National Guard dispels rumors of military action related to COVID-19 – Capitol News

The Illinois National Guard is assisting the state’s COVID-19 response by setting up testing centers and other civil action, not preparing for military action as has been rumored on social media.

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12 COVID-19 related deaths now confirmed in Illinois; 1285 cases total – WGNTV (Chicago)

The three new deaths were reported in Cook County and include two men in their 80s and a man in his 90s.

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Pritzker details state efforts to stockpile COVID-19 supplies – Capitol News

During his daily COVID-19 briefing in Chicago, the governor also announced a new partnership with the manufacturing and biotech industries in the state to produce needed supplies and called for donations of personal protective equipment, or PPE.

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Pritzker goes after federal government for lack of supplies – Center Square

“It’s the federal government’s job to make sure that a nurse being properly equipped in Illinois doesn’t come at the cost of a doctor being ready for work in California,” he said.

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New bill would require school boards to explain reasons for firing school leaders – Center Square

“We have to remember the local taxpayers are the ones who pay the salaries of administrators,” said State Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine. “So if an administrator is let go for cause, the residents in that district should know what the reasons are.”

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Some Illinois business owners look for loans to stay afloat amid pandemic – Center Square

A number of small business owners struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak took part in a teleconference Monday to learn about federal disaster loans.

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Deemed non-essential? Here’s what to do next – Center Square

Experts warn that people applying for unemployment benefits need to be patient.

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Coronavirus Crippling Chicago’s Census Outreach Effort – BGA

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Cashiers. Janitors. CTA employees. While much of the public hunkers down at home amid coronavirus pandemic, some people must still show up for work. – Chicago Tribune

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WIU map tracks spread of China virus in Illinois

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Editorial: Coronavirus and Springfield: The urgent agenda should include property tax relief – Chicago Tribune

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As campuses empty, officials in college towns worry students will be missed by census – Chicago Tribune

“If the disruption to college life caused by the coronavirus undermines an accurate count of college students where they otherwise would have been counted, cities will have to live with consequences for the next 10 years — and that could really hurt them."

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Illinois Gov. Pritzker mocks Trump’s coronavirus efforts – Politico

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The Crisis’s Impact on State Budgets – City Journal

Already strained by unfunded pension obligations, states now face a collapse in tax revenue.

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Caterpillar to continue Illinois operations during coronavirus ‘stay at home’ order: spokeswoman – Herald & Review (Decatur)

The earthmoving-equipment manufacturer, which has an operation in Decatur, is among essential businesses and services spared from Gov. J.B. Pritzker's shelter-in-place order.

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Coronavirus vaults Pritzker into national spotlight, and Trump’s tweet proves it – Chicago Sun-Times

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Illinois Governor Lists Gun Stores as ‘Essential,’ Exempts Them from Forced Shutdown – Breitbart

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Ag keeps food on the shelves – State Journal-Register

Industry leaders say the Illinois factories processing beef and pork are running at normal capacity with multiple shifts a day to keep shelves and meat cases stocked.

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Text of Governor Pritzker’s Stay-At-Home Order

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Column: Rx for Economy: Policies That Keep Businesses Busy – RealClear Politics

The shutdown of the U.S. economy over COVID-19 highlights an often misunderstood aspect of wealth: it’s created by money moving. When money stops moving, wealth swiftly disappears. Put another way, wealth is a stream, not a lake.

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The Very Real Risk Of Insolvency: Stress-Testing Chicago’s Pensions – Forbes

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Spring planting not a concern yet for Central Illinois farmers amid coronavirus outbreak – The Pantagraph (Bloomington)

One DeWitt County farmer said while the coronavirus is on everybody’s mind, it’s the markets that are going to have a more immediate impact on the life of a farmer this spring. “The biggest thing is that the grain markets went to hell. The oil markets went to hell and the grain markets followed and that is our concern right now.”

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Deadline for Illinois lawmakers to approve ‘fair maps’ proposal approaches as session days canceled – Center Square

“This is the year to do it and there’s a bipartisan group of folks working towards it,” said State Sen. Jason Plummer. “It seems like a lot of good things are lining up. And the governor has said he would only sign a map that is fair and I hope he honors his word.”

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Pritzker rebuffs call to pull progressive tax from November ballot amid pandemic – Center Square

Pritzker said, "This is not a time for politics. We have too much to do to save people’s lives."

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Poll: Americans more concerned with finances than health amid coronavirus pandemic – WGNTV (Chicago)

When asked about their personal finances, 42 percent of respondents said they were “very concerned” and another 36 percent said they were “somewhat concerned.”

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Editorial | Do something, do anything – News-Gazette

“That’s huge — worse than all but one quarter during the Great Recession 12 years ago. It means state and local revenue sources of all types will get slammed, and pensions, already a crisis in Illinois, are seeing the value of their assets shrink rapidly,” writes Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon.

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President Trump calls out Gov. Pritzker, Pritzker responds – WREX

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The Federal Reserve is expanding its asset purchases to include municipal bonds – CNBC

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Pritzker removes red tape for telehealth services in Illinois during pandemic – Center Square

Specifically, the order requires public and private insurers to reimburse doctors for a virtual doctor’s visit as if it were an in-person visit. It also places restrictions on insurers tacking on extra fees for telehealth visits.

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Unemployment funds were in trouble before coronavirus. Now claims are sky high – USA Today

Just last month, the U.S. Department of Labor warned that six of the nation’s largest states — California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and Texas — would not be able to handle a surge in unemployment claims on their own.

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Illinois Weed Stores Still Open, Declared ‘Essential Services’ During Pandemic – Riverfront Times

"If you thought a little something like a global pandemic would stop the tax revenue bonanza that Illinois has been enjoying ever since the state legalized recreational marijuana, buddy, you thought wrong."

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Gov. Pritzker Issues Plea to Retired Health Care Workers – NBC Chicago

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Pritzker Addresses Rumors of Martial Law: ‘Completely Inaccurate’ – NBC5 (Chicago)

"There have been a lot of rumors circulating around that are completely inaccurate," Pritzker said. "Rumors that there's going to be martial law that's going to be imposed, that we've called out the guard or the military somehow to impose their will upon the state of Illinois. Those are all false. I want people to take a deep breathe."

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Coronavirus Unemployment: As Claims Explode, Illinois Systems To Process Them Are Stressed – CBS Chicago

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Illinois Economy – Eric Allie Cartoon

Illinois' COVID-19 economic crisis

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State crime lab scales back operations amid coronavirus spread, leading to shelving of drug cases – Chicago Tribune

"Out of an abundance of caution for the health of law enforcement and the community at large, the state’s attorney’s office will not be pursuing cases which pose little to no risk to public safety at this time,” said State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. The office is also reviewing whether to prosecute other types of charges on a case-by-case basis in light of drastically reduced courtroom operations.

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Illinois unemployment claims jump by 64K as COVID-19 closes businesses – Illinois Policy Institute

“We’ve all been readying for really bad news. This is bad news,” Todd Maisch, CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, told Crain’s Chicago Business.

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Column: Rich Miller: Thoughtful approach to pandemic – The Pantagraph (Bloomington)

You can almost see Pritzker's thinking play out if you pay attention to what he says. He telegraphs his actions, which, frankly, is a good thing.

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Secretary of State extends closure of all driving facilities through April 7 – WREX (Rockford)

Expiration dates for driver’s licenses, identification (ID) cards, vehicle registrations and other transactions and document filings will be extended for the duration of the disaster proclaimed by Governor Pritzker and 30 days after the disaster ends.

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Illinois Prisons Will Receive Hygiene Supplies Amid COVID-19 Outbreak – WBEZ (Chicago)

Health experts say the Illinois prisons are at risk of a coronavirus outbreak because of the crowded and unsanitary conditions, and because of an aging population. Nineteen percent of the IDOC population is 50 years of age or older.

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Bill would allow licensed, out-of-state nurses to serve Illinois patients – Illinois Policy Institute

HB 1459, sponsored by Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, would help ease the strain caused by the nurse shortage in Illinois, which is felt especially in rural communities. The nurse workforce is aging, with 25 percent to 30 percent set to retire in the next five years.

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Dorothy Brown blinks on clerks’ hours during court shutdown over coronavirus, as some walk off job – Chicago Tribune

Court clerks at a Southwest suburban courthouse walked off the job Friday, the culmination of a week of complaints about whether their boss, Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, was doing enough to protect them and the public from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Editorial: An order to stay home, an opportunity to stand together – Chicago Sun-Times

"Yes, Illinois and Chicago have been known for corruption, but we also are known for some of the nation’s great reforms. This is a moment for all of us to follow in the footsteps of the idealistic reformers."

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What you need to know about Illinois ‘shelter-in-place’ order – Center Square

Here’s the governor’s list of essential activities allowed.

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Illinois Governor Issues Stay-at-Home Order – NBC5 (Chicago)

The order is expected to begin at 5 p.m. Saturday and continue until the end of April 7. Schools will also remain closed in the state until that date, Pritzker said. "We know this will be hard and we're looking for every tool we have to get through this crisis."

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Best Defense Against Virus Proves Crushing to States’ Finances – Bloomberg

Few states face a crisis as deep as Illinois, which has more than $7 billion in unpaid bills, about $137 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and only $1.2 million in reserves. Just over a week into the pandemic, initial jobless claims in Illinois jumped more than 10-fold compared with the same period last year.

Chicago, Illinois’s biggest city and the nation’s third largest, is also in a tough spot. It already faced deficits and its pension contributions were to jump this year to $1.7 billion from $1.3 billion after decades of shorting the four retirement funds drove unfunded liabilities to about $30 billion.

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FDA: Georgia Sterigenics plant needs to reopen to help fight COVID-19 – Cook County Record

As Illinois hospitals put out a desperate plea for donations of protective equipment, federal regulators have asked the governor of Georgia to allow a shuttered medical device sterilization plant to reopen, saying it would help governments and hospitals across the country get gear they need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The request comes months after two similar facilities in Illinois also went dark, amid state action and lawsuits over emissions of the chemical known as ethylene oxide.

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Column: COVID-19 could be deadly for American small business – Daily Herald

"COVID-19 has gotten a lot of attention for its dangers to public health, but we have to take the dangers to the economy just as seriously. This is a wake-up call."

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Pritzker’s tax plan looks to become biggest ballot measure in Illinois history – Belleville News-Democrat

“I expect this to be incredibly noisy, negative and expensive,” said Chris Mooney, a political scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Column: Miller: Despite COVID-19, Statehouse has deadlines to meet – Illinois Times

"They need to pass a budget, perhaps a lump-sum or six-month (or both) budget to allow the state government to operate in these uncharted waters. Beyond that, there's some cleanup work to do on some of the myriad laws the legislature passed in an end-of-session rush last May."

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Congress considers requiring Fed to buy muni bonds for coronavirus fight – SourceMedia

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Coronavirus In Chicago: With Millions Out Of Work, State And City Officials Scramble To ‘Put Money In Their Pocket’ – Block Club Chicago

Gov. JB Pritzker announced Thursday that more than 20,000 small- and medium-sized businesses across Illinois will be allowed a two-month delay in paying sales tax to the state and local jurisdictions. And small businesses are now eligible for low-interest disaster assistance loans for up to $2 million.

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Cook County launches COVID-19 text alert system and phone hotline – Chicago Sun-Times

“The importance of quick, accurate and trustworthy information cannot be overstated,” Preckwinkle said Thursday morning, noting it’s important to offer county residents a trusted voice to combat misinformation.

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Illinois nursing homes have been among worst for following infection-control rules. That leaves longtime critics worried how homes will stop COVID-19 – Chicago Tribune

The Tribune studied federal inspection data on infection control for facilities certified by Medicare and Medicaid, representing the vast majority of nursing homes. The analysis found that 89 percent of Illinois homes have been cited at least once since 2016 for violating infection control regulations. Only two states fared worse.

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How Illinois hospitals are preparing for a flood of COVID-19 patients – Chicago Tribune

Some experts say it is unlikely that Illinois’ hospital systems could expand facilities anywhere near enough to avoid being overwhelmed.

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As coronavirus deaths climb to 4, Pritzker says grocery stores, interstates ‘will never’ shut down – Capitol News

“I want to address some of the rumors that have been running around,” Pritzker said. “Essential services will not close. Interstates, highways and bridges will stay open. Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations – these sources of fundamental supplies will continue to operate."

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Op Ed: Rod Blagojevich: Gov. Pritzker should call a virtual legislative session to help Illinois workers through coronavirus crisis – Chicago Tribune

"Summoning the General Assembly into special legislative session is not unusual. During the six years I was governor, I exercised that constitutional power to call the General Assembly into special session 36 times. "

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General Assembly can’t hold remote meetings – Capitol News

A spokesman for Senate President Don Harmon said in an email that Article IV, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution says sessions of each house of the General Assembly must be open to the public unless two-thirds of the members vote to close them. He also pointed to a state law that says legislative sessions must be held “in the seat of government,” which is Springfield.

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Muni-Bond Liquidity Crisis Hits Governments With Rates Up to 11% – Bloomberg

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IDHS announces office closures, staff reductions – Capitol News

The agency said many staff who do not work directly with the public will be working remotely and will still be able to process benefits.

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State Hospital Association: Donate masks, gloves – Capitol News

Health care workers are “in jeopardy of potentially running out” of those supplies. In addition, the federal Food and Drug Administration is calling on Americans to continue  donating blood during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Report finds Illinois metros struggle with job creation – Center Square

The Chicago metro area climbed a few spots from its place in 2018, but still ranked just 118 out of 200 large markets surveyed.

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Top House Democrats Press Fed to Provide Support to Muni Market – Bloomberg

Comment: You knew it was coming -- a request for bailout by Federal Reserve Bank.

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Illinois lawmaker pitches post-graduation scholarship to attract young professionals – Center Square

“Illinois must be creative and aggressive in attracting and retaining the next generation of leaders for our state,” State Representative Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, said.

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Illinois unemployment claims surpass 60,000 in three days – Center Square

"(Compare this) to the same three days during the corresponding week last year, when IDES received 6,074 unemployment benefit claims,” IDES spokeswoman Rebecca Cisco said.

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Illinois State Police get 19,000 background checks for gun purchases in five days – Center Square

“When you are now hearing of cities like Oak Park and others talking about lockdowns, that is putting people on edge,” Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois Executive Director Todd Vandermyde said.

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Coronavirus Layoffs Spark Surge in State Jobless Claims – NBC5 (Chicago)

In the U.S., state unemployment trust funds generally are in better financial shape than they were before the last recession. Yet 21 states began the year with less than the amount recommended to remain solvent in an average recession, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report. At the bottom of the solvency list are many of the most populous states — Illinois among them.

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States’ Financial Reserves Hit Record Highs – Pew Charitable Trusts

Comment: Not in Illinois, where the rainy day fund will cover less than a tenth of one day's spending.

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After Biden’s primary win, where do progressive politics stand in Illinois? – Chicago Reporter

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Editorial: What’s next? – Cahmpaign News-Gazette

"It’s trite to say that this, too, shall pass. Of course, it will. But that hardly addresses the questions of how much damage to public health and personal livelihoods will be inflicted and what can be done to minimize the suffering."

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9 States Struggle With Long-Term Fiscal Imbalances – Pew Charitable Trusts

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Effingham County to Chicago: Get lost – Effingham Daily News

Effingham County voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly said they want Chicago to separate from the rest of Illinois. A local referendum favored that by a margin of 73.8 percent to 26.2 percent.

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Infographics: Tracking Illinois coronavirus cases: Cases, tests and a map of Illinois, U.S. and world – Chicago Tribune

As the coronavirus spreads and local, state and national governments work to contain and mitigate the outbreak, the Tribune is tracking Illinois cases.

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Blood Supply Low As Drives Are Canceled – NPR Illinois

An urgent call is being made for donors to step forward. The U.S. Surgeon General made it clear that coronavirus fears should not stop donations. "You can still go out and give blood. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement," he said.

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More demand, fewer volunteers at food banks – Herald & Review (Decatur)

The economic upheaval caused by COVID-19 is expected to cause demands placed on food pantries to skyrocket; the response has been complicated by a virus that requires people to avoid the kind of close interaction typical in food packaging and distribution.

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Gun dealers report increased store traffic, ‘panic buying’ – Capitol News

“They’re worried about civil unrest,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association.

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Next week’s state legislative session canceled, return date remains uncertain – Capitol News

House Speaker Michael Madigan's chief of staff said in an email to state representatives Wednesday that the House’s session schedule remains “in flux” and lawmakers “should be prepared to return to Springfield to address urgent matters.”

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Pritzker signs emergency declaration to speed up delivery of supplies – Center Square

The declaration, which is effective through April 12, enables haulers to get free overweight trucking permits from the Illinois Department of Transportation for the transportation of supplies needed during the pandemic.

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Preliminary figures show low turnout for Tuesday’s primary in Illinois – Center Square

Official voter turnout numbers won't be available for two weeks.

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Illinois’ COVID-19 shutdowns could hit taxpayers as local governments brace for impact – Center Square

With bars, restaurants, conventions, hotel cancellations and other economic activity at a virtual standstill, local tax revenue is expected to decline.

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Op-Ed: Illinois’ empty rainy-day fund should be wake-up call – Center Square

"It's an embarrassment and a stark reminder of why the policy decisions made in Springfield should matter to everyone who lives in Illinois."

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Illinois municipal leaders seek emergency powers for gas, gun sales bans and curfews amid pandemic – Center Square

“You don’t have to wait for the train to run over you before you get out of the way,” Champaign City Attorney Fred Stavins said. “It’s important that this is an effort to get ahead of this rather than wait for the worst situation in the community."

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Special report: Illinois must act now to guard against COVID-19 financial fallout – Illinois Policy Institute

Without preventative policy action, Illinois could face a state budget deficit of $6.3 billion more than expected, widespread job losses as businesses struggle to cope with reduced economic activity, and a slide toward insolvency for the state’s pension systems.

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Editorial: Springfield postelection: Don’t let coronavirus sidetrack remap and ethics reforms – Chicago Tribune

"And remember: The candidates nominated on Tuesday have to face you again in November. If they don’t deliver for you in this year of health, finance and ethical crises, oust them in the general election. You can do better."

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Pizza chain drops Illinois restaurant that defied governor’s shutdown order – Post-Dispatch

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A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data – Stat News

Comment: Nothing particular to Illinois in this article, but it explains how we are driving blind, and perhaps foolishly over a an economic cliff.

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Complete Illinois Election Results – ABC Chicago

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Illinois Hospitals Lack the Beds Needed to Care for the Number of Residents Projected to Get Coronavirus – ProPublica

Perhaps 1.7 million adults living in Illinois are projected to get the virus over the course of the pandemic, with thousands expected to become sick enough to need a hospital bed, the analysis found.

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University Of Illinois Calls Off Graduation Ceremonies – NPR Illinois

However, diplomas will be mailed and there remains the possibility of rescheduling commencement and/or virtual events to honor the Class of 2020.

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Column: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker never should have let this election go forward today – Chicago Tribune

"On one hand, state officials are telling people to stay at home from restaurants and bars, and at the same time, they’re saying it’s OK to go to the polls. This kind of mixed messaging is the last thing people need at a time when so much confusion exists over the coronavirus that people aren’t sure exactly what to believe."

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Executive authority in the face of disaster – Capitol News

Granting the governor and Illinois Department of Public Health these powers are two statutes — one effective during times of disaster and the other when a health situation demands certain actions.

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State, federal governments seek ways to lessen COVID-19 economic impact – Capitol News

In Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker has urged stronger action from the federal government while also taking COVID-19 response steps at the state level. He noted Tuesday the administration will file for statewide eligibility in a federal loan program for small businesses facing financial hardship.

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Biden wins Illinois primary, widening lead over Bernie Sanders – Fox Chicago

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How well is Illinois doing in the fight against COVID-19? – Chicago Agent Magazine

Despite ranking in the top one-third of states overall, Illinois was near the bottom in one area, coming in No. 49 for states with the lowest public health emergency preparedness funding per capita.

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Every public and private school in Illinois is closing today because of the coronavirus. Here’s what you need to know. – Chicago Tribune

“From March 17 through March 30, all school district employees on the district’s payroll will get paid as if the schools were functioning normally. Normal pay includes salary, hourly and stipend pay, benefits, and employees will receive full and normal service credit in their pension systems.”

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Food stamp work requirements halted by judge, but it won’t help Cook County SNAP recipients already subject to the work rules – Chicago Tribune

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Illinois wine enthusiasts may soon be allowed to receive bottles in mail – Illinois Policy Institute

That anti-consumer, likely unconstitutional regulation dating from the end of Prohibition might change.

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Illinois mistakenly lists over 1,000 voters as not registered – Illinois Policy Institute

The problem does not come from a computer glitch, but rather from a clerical error which could be caused by many different things.

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Report: Despite diverse economy, Illinois more vulnerable to coronavirus downturn – Center Square

As many states facing imminent cash flow issues dip into reserves amid the coronavirus outbreak, Illinois' rainy day fund is nearly empty.

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Illinois polling places move, close as clerks scramble to replace election judges – Center Square

In Chicago, election officials were forced to close eighty polling locations and take steps to move others from locations where they thought bringing the general public could put the elderly at risk.

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Pritzker reportedly asked by elections officials to suspend in-person voting and refused – Center Square

Chicago election officials said they asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker to postpone Illinois’ primary election, but were rebuffed and reportedly threatened with a charge of voter suppression.

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First Coronavirus Death Reported in Illinois, Governor Announces – NBC5 (Chicago)

The patient was a Chicago woman in her 60s with an underlying condition, Pritzker said.

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Illinois Attorney General warns businesses on price gouging amid coronavirus outbreak – Center Square

His office has fielded more than 100 complaints in recent days from people about prices for hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, face masks and disinfectant sprays.

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Polling Problems, Sanitizer Concerns, Delayed Openings: Live Election Day Updates – NBC Chicago

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Illinois Governor’s Executive Order attempts to invoke power not given re Open Meetings – IL Leaks

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Most Illinois School Districts Are Unprepared For E-Learning – WBEZ

School assignments given during the mandatory school closure should not count toward student grades because most school districts are not ready for e-learning, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

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Illinois primary election updates: Polls open across Chicago amid concerns the coronavirus pandemic could affect turnout – Chicago Tribune

Chicago election officials anticipated a serious shortage of workers at city polls.

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Video gambing operators: Oak Lawn video gambling ‘penny per play’ tax illegal, unconstitutional – Cook County Record

A tax on video gambling that Oak Lawn village officials have boasted will bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars, helping the village to deal with spiraling public pension costs, has been challenged in court.

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Coronavirus in Illinois Monday: Gov. J.B. Pritzker orders gatherings of 50 or more to be canceled as state’s total COVID-19 cases reach 105 – Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Police Department canceled police academy training, the Cook County board approved measure giving Toni Preckwinkle more power during coronavirus crisis, and Mayor Lightfoot said she’s looking at ways to support restaurant workers.

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Illinois especially vulnerable to financial fallout from coronavirus, public finance expert says – JG-TC

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Illinois’ rainy-day fund can operate state for about 15 minutes – Illinois Policy Institute

Whether or not the U.S. technically hits a recession as a result of the coronavirus, the economy will take a hit and lead to financial pain

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Chief judge’s order nearly brings Chicago’s federal court to a halt – Chicago Sun-Times

The order appears to cancel hearings in several public corruption cases, as well as the sentencing hearings for convicted Chicago Police Sgt. Xavier Elizondo and Officer David Salgado. It would also appear to put off the sentencing of ex-Ald. Edward R. Vrdolyak. Among the public corruption defendants whose hearings appear to be delayed are former state Rep. Luis Arroyo, state Sen. Thomas Cullerton and Patrick Doherty, chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski.

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Pritzker names new DCFS watchdog; some child welfare advocates concerned – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert said Pritzker’s announcement was “suspect and likely designed to avoid scrutiny” because it was made “on a Friday night in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic dominating the news.”

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Cook County officials ponder inmate release to ease coronavirus concerns at jail; advocates demand state consider taking action – Chicago Tribune

Cook County officials are considering a program of early releases for detainees who have exceptional health care needs - for example, pregnant women - so long as they don’t pose a threat or flight risk.

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Illinois libraries consider closing doors amid coronavirus outbreak – Center Square

Schools will be closed until the end of the month, and libraries are usually a haven for students out on break.

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Cook County Board approves measure giving Toni Preckwinkle more power during coronavirus crisis – Chicago Tribune

The resolution essentially gives Preckwinkle the authority to issue executive orders, procure some contracts and conduct other business so that governing can continue without disruption during this time of crisis.

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Normal shopping habits encouraged as Illinois grocers work to restock shelves – Center Square

Brian Jordan with the Illinois Food Retailers Association said the increased demand does strain the supply chain, but said shelves will be stocked.

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Pritzker authorizes remote meetings for local governments, public bodies – Herald and Review

The order waives a portion of the Open Meetings Act that requires a quorum of members of a public body be “physically present” at the meeting location.

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Legal hotline for voters available; lawmakers’ return to Springfield uncertain – Capitol News

A deluge of election judges have canceled their shifts and left precinct locations understaffed, and state-ordered polling place relocations without proper notification to voters might cause problems.

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Illinois driver facilities closed for rest of March – Center Square

White’s office is also calling on the federal government to extend the Oct. 1 deadline for REAL IDs to be required to fly domestically.

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Another delay in launching managed care for youth in DCFS care – Capitol News

“Recognizing the unprecedented challenges families, medical providers, and state agencies are facing from COVID-19, the launch of YouthCare services for DCFS youth in care will be postponed a minimum of 30 days,” reported the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

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Illinois National Guard to help with medical intake while local governments seek compliance on closure orders – Center Square

The governor said some in the National Guard members have medical backgrounds and can help expand triage if needed. Several law enforcement officials expect the National Guard to be used to enforce court-ordered isolation of certain individuals if those numbers were to increase beyond what local law enforcement agencies were able to handle.

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Pritzker considers ways to help businesses amid economic uncertainty – Center Square

“I don’t have any announcement to make yet,” Pritzker said. “There’s a balancing act here."

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ComEd to stop service disconnections, waive late payment charges amid outbreak – Center Square

Relief extends through May 1.

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Illinois coronavirus tally hits 105 – Chicago Sun-Times

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Pritzker mandates CDC recommendation on group gatherings, expands unemployment insurance – WREX

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Editorial | Flat failure on property taxes – News-Gazette

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas recently made an announcement that deserved far more attention than it received — both for what it says about the present, and more ominously, what it portends for the future. Pappas disclosed there are 57,515 property owners who need to pay their property taxes to avoid foreclosure at a May 8 tax sale.

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Jim Dey | Meet the realists who dare to question Pritzker’s financial forecast – Champaign News-Gazette

WEB Dey Pritzker doomsayers When Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave his state budget address Feb. 19 in Springfield, his words were being closely watched by a group of people who would fall into the description he gave at his State of the State Address the month before: ‘the carnival barkers, the doomsayers, the paid professional critics’ — from left, Elizabeth Bauer, former corporate actuary and the author of Forbes’ ‘Jane the Actuary’ column; Sheila Weinberg, a veteran accountant who is founder and CEO of Truth in Accounting; and lawyer and venture capitalist Mark Glennon and banker Ted Dabrowski, who oversee Wirepoints, a news and financial analysis website.

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Chicago suburbs declare states of emergency – Chicago Sun-Times

Harvey, Evanston, Highland Park and Oak Park are among those who have declared measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Illinois Gov. Pritzker: ‘We’re Gonna Go Ahead’ With Tuesday’s Primary Elections – WBEZ

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what happened Sunday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area – Chicago Tribune

The health department is reporting 93 cases in 13 counties in Illinois. Cases have occurred in all age ranges and the number of cases that do not have a clear connection to travel or a known COVID-19 case is increasing.

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Illinois DNR: All state parks closed because of coronavirus outbreak – Chicago Sun-Times

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ decision follows a wave similar closings statewide and nationwide.

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Watchdog: Illinois’ early pot tax revenues outpacing other states – Daily Herald

On a per capita basis, Illinois is in line to receive more tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales during its first two months of legalization than California, Colorado, Michigan and Washington took in, according to a Daily Herald analysis.

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Illinois restaurants, bars concerned about future after Pritzker orders closures over coronavirus – Center Square

"I’m afraid that mom and pops aren’t going to be able to weather the storm and we’re going to see a rash of businesses close,” one Springfield restauranteur said.

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Illinois Closes Bars And Restaurants Amid Coronavirus Outbreak – Forbes

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All Illinois Casinos to Close for 14 Days Starting Monday – NBC Chicago

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Illinois Continues to Steer Toward the Iceberg – Letters – Wall Street Journal

Various letters agreeing with a recent opinion piece in the WSJ, Spendthrift Illinois Races Toward Default.”

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Illinois Eviction Legislation: New and Under Consideration – CBS2 (Chicago)

People looking to rent a place in Illinois and in Chicago, in particular, are getting some new protections and may soon get even more relief when it comes to landlords checking their criminal backgrounds and civil court case histories.

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Gov. Pritzker Blasts Trump Administration in Response to Long Customs’ Lines at O’Hare – NBC Chicago

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Rich Miller: General Assembly has important work to finish – JG-TC

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Illinois especially vulnerable to financial fallout from coronavirus, public finance expert says – Chicago Tribune

Officials say it’s too soon to say how cancellations, overtime costs and other issues brought on by the coronavirus outbreak will affect Illinois’ ever-precarious finances, but the state remains particularly vulnerable to volatility brought on by events like a pandemic.

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Frankfort contractor gets 3 years for bribing former Markham mayor – Chicago Sun-Times

Michael Jarigese paid the mayor using false invoices from his company and used coffee cups to conceal cash bribes, which the mayor accepted in exchange for a multi-million dollar construction contract.

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20 new coronavirus cases in Illinois bring total to 66, including first downstate; Gov. J.B. Pritzker expresses frustration over young people crowding bars for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations -Chicago Tribune

“We saw a lot of crowds out and about today, and I need to be frank: We can have a massive, positive effect on bending the transmission curve, thereby saving lives, if people will take this seriously,” Pritzker said.

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Champaign City Council gives mayor power to impose curfew, seize private property – Illinois Policy Institute

Water rationing and forced business closures were among a litany of emergency powers the city council granted Champaign’s mayor and city manager in response to the global health crisis. Many of the new powers expire after 28 days.

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Six cases confirmed in central, southern Illinois – News-Gazette

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